Growth through people

Content with context…

Content with context - WIIFM?

Context is essential to effective leadership development. Without context, generic training results in generic leadership!1‑4

Context shapes meaning, enabling the connection of content to real-world application.5

For leadership development, context is essential not only to build collective organisational leadership beliefs and practices, it’s also critical for individual development.6

Why? Because without context, we naturally make our own assumptions…

… content is the substance; context is the set of circumstances.7

We have too much noise - that's content. What we lack is the ability to separate the signal from the noise - and that's what context is all about, and ultimately that's what leadership is about.

Alan Webber

If we know why we are learning and if the reason fits our needs as we perceive them, we will learn quickly and deeply.

Malcolm Knowles

Adult learning theory also recognises that as individuals, we assimilate information differently. Each of us has a distinct and consistent preferred way of organising and processing information: our cognitive preferences.

We also differ in how we prefer to have information presented to us:10,11

  • Some of us retain information better when its presented verbally (written or spoken words), others when it is presented visually (pictures, diagrams or charts)
  • Some of us prefer to acquire new information step-by-step in pieces and parts (analytic), others prefer to consider the big-picture, maintaining a global view over larger chunks of information (holistic)

The integration between workshops and workshop materials is therefore essential to the learning experience! Together they need to complete the learning loop for different learning styles.

YourBrand™ Brand-specific Leadership

All our YourBrand™ materials have been designed from the ground up to incorporate instructional and experiential design principles, to optimise the learning experience for all learning styles. They’re also built to deliver a unique level of customisation.

Every personalisation we deliver in the workshop, we can deliver in the associated materials. 

And, by using the same framework, language and personal style-based approach across everything we do, we’re building on the learning at each stage of the programme.

Plus, our unique, brand‑specific approach, enables us to deliver a highly contextualised leadership development programme with no development costs.

Want to know more?

YourBrand™ binder


    1. Ulrich, D., Smallwood, N. (2007). Leadership brand: Developing customer-focused leaders to drive performance and build lasting value. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
    2. Ulrich, D., Smallwood, N. (2008). Aligning firm, leadership, and personal brand. Leader to Leader, 2008(47).
    3. Gurdjian, P., Halbeisen, T., Lane, K. (2014). McKinsey quarterly: Why leadership development programs fail. (mckinsey.com).
    4. Gagnon, S., Collinson, D. (2014). Rethinking global leadership development programs: The interrelated significance of power, context and identity. Organization Studies, 35.
    5. Hamilton, F., Bean, C.J. (2005). The importance of context, beliefs and values in leadership development. Business Ethics: A European Review, 14.
    6. McCauley, C. (2008). Leader development: A review of research. Society For Human Resource Management. (shrm.org).
    7. Bolea, A., Atwater, L. (2014). Applied leadership development: Nine elements of leadership mastery. New York, NY: Routledge.
    8. Knowles, M. S. (1984). Andragogy in action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    9. Knowles, M. S., Swanson, R. A., Holton, E. F. III (2005). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development (6th ed.). California: Elsevier Science and Technology Books.
    10. Riding, R., Cheema, I. (1991). Cognitive styles: An overview and integration. Educational Psychology, 11(3 & 4).
    11. McLoughlin, C. (1999). The implications of the research literature on learning styles for the design of instructional material. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 15(3).
    12. Petriglieri, G. (2016). How to really customize leadership development. Harvard Business Review: Leadership. (hbr.com)